To see how well he
accomplished this, just check out the classic sword battle in Jason and the Argonauts
with the Skeleton Warriors. Considering the year, this is some of the
best special effects you'll ever see.
(makers of the uber-cool retro Flash Gordon and the Atomic
Disintegrator) has teamed up with Blue Water Productions to
bring you a number of cool figures featuring Harryhausen's
work, including the skeletons.
are called a 'limited edition', but I have no actual production numbers
on either the regular version or the exclusive. The regular can be had
for less than $50 at a number of retailers (check my Where to Buy
section at the end of the review for more info), and Zoloworld
offers the exclusive for $75.
in mind that while I mention Jason and the Argonauts, as well as other
Harryhausen classics, these figures aren't technically based on the
films, but rather the comic book series "Ray Harryhausen Presents" from
Packaging - ***
The boxes are fairly straightforward, with photos of the figures
themselves and some basic text. The big plus is that they do a good job
protecting the figures and they are completely collector friendly,
allowing you to remove the figure for display without any damage.
One of the features of the Harryhausen skeletons was that the skulls
weren't simply human skulls, showing no emotion or attitude. He added a
furrowed brow line, high distinctive cheeks, and slightly oval eye
sockets to give the character an foreboding, evil, snarling appearance,
making them even more menacing.
Hero has replicated that beautifully here. This isn't just a skeleton
that would hang in an anatomy classroom - this is a skeleton
malice in his heart, if he had one.
The sculpting of the bone
itself is very, very realistic, with pitting and scarring that
you'd expect to see on a very old, almost petrified skeleton. This is
particularly well done on the body and limbs.
liberties taken with actual human anatomy - the sternum looks more like
a spine, for instance - but these changes match the source material
well. Remember, these are actually based on the comics/graphic novels
from Blue Water, not the actual films, but the overall appearance is
The regular head sculpt is very,
defined. In fact, it's so sharply defined that the lower guns actually
look like a second set of teeth. That's partly due to the sharp sculpt,
and partly due to the heavy wash, and it's my only fault with the
sculpting on the regular version.
The exclusive version is a
slightly more 'melted' look, with the nose, cheeks, and eye sockets a
bit more rounded and smooth. This slightly smoother sculpt means that
the gum line no longer looks like a second set of teeth, but I'm not a
huge fan of the smooshed nose. Again, this one small issue is all that
holds it back from a perfect four star sculpt for me.
pretty well on their own, and at almost exactly 12" tall will fit in
with most other sixth scale figures. Technically they should be
slightly shorter, but since they're going for a menacing look here, not
anatomical accuracy, I think the size is just about perfect.
Paint - Exclusive ****; Regular
The paint work is great on both, with one minor quibble on the regular
exclusive has a liberal coating of Glow in the Dark paint, so much so
that I found it rubbing off. There's a lot here though, so even with
some ending up on my hands, there was still plenty to give a nice,
bright glowing appearance to the entire skeleton. I've included one
glowing shot just to show you how creepy he looks - imagine waking up
to that staring down at you from a shelf in the middle of the night!
ignoring the excellent GITD feature, the exclusive has a great paint
job. Both figures use a heavy wash to bring out the sculpted age
effects on the bones, and for the most part it works great.
think that it's a little too heavy on the regular version on the skull,
particularly around the jaw where it makes the indented gum line look
like a second set of teeth. But as I said, this is really a minor
quibble, especially in person.
While the paint ops on the sword
and spear are pretty basic, the
shields look amazing. I'll discuss it further in the accessories
section, but the realistic weathering and detailed creature on the
front really adds a lot to the overall presentation of the figure.
Articulation - **
The original figures were a metal armature about 8 - 10" high, covered
with cotton dipped in latex to create the bone appearance (or so says this
They were very posable, and the sequence from Jason and the Argonauts
is one of my all time favorite sword battles, right up there with
Tyrone Power vs Basil Rathbone in Mark of Zorro, and Carey Elwes vs
Mandy Patinkin in Princess Bride.
These figures are not nearly as
articulated as the originals, and this is their biggest flaw. The
joints are generally classic ball style, with a rounded post on one
piece fitting into a hollow socket on the other.
The neck and
waist work well, allowing for some tilting and turning and plenty of
personality. The shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles
aren't as good, and this is largely due to the sculpt itself. The edges
of the bones at the joints don't allow for the pieces to move freely,
getting in the way and binding them up.
This is particularly
annoying at the elbows and shoulders because the arms end up with far
less mobility than you'd expect or need. I found posing him in
convincing ways with the shield difficult, and with the weapons it
was only slightly better.
He does stand fine on his own
though in basic stances, and the feet and legs are very sturdy.
one more joint as well - his jaw. This joint is quite loose though, so
that if you pose the head in an upward look, the jaw drops open
automatically. Working a little super glue into the jaw joints would
help, but shouldn't be necessary.
Accessories - ***
He comes with two weapons, and an extra set of hands.
hands he comes wearing in the box are designed for battle. The left is
in a gripping pose, while the right is permanently sculpted holding the
The extra set has a pointing
left hand, and a relaxed
pose right. The hands swap pretty easily, but be careful with that
pointing finger - it can snap off pretty easily!
There are two
weapons - a sword, and a spear. Originally, these were to be diecast
metal, but cost and safety issues caused Go Hero to go with plastic.
The sword is the better of the two, having a more realistic and deadly
appearance. The spear looks a bit like a Fisher-Price version, and I'm
betting most folks will swap it out for something from another line of
figures. For example, the various warriors from Ignite have some really
cool spears that would look great here. Just be mindful that anything
too heavy is going to be difficult for these bony arms to hold aloft
for any period of time.
like to make a special note on the exceptional paint job on the shield.
Both versions look amazing, with a tremendous amount of detail and very
realistic weathering. The shields in the film were adorned with
Harryhausen creatures from other films, but alas that's not the case
here. Still, the images are done in a very similar style, reminiscent
of the film look.
Outfit - **1/2
When I say 'outfit', I'm talking just about the tattered black cape
that comes with each warrior.
this removable is a critical point of course, since if you army build
with a few of these you'll want to have them both with and without.
material is very thin, which is not a problem - in fact, I prefer it,
since it doesn't weigh the figure down or create any posing issues. The
thinness does create one issue, but it's not one you probably guessed.
When you handle it, you end up generating a lot of static electricity,
so the cape becomes a magnet for fuzzies and other clingers. I'm not
sure how that will effect the accumulation of dust over time, but you
might want to spritz it with some Static Guard just to be safe.
doesn't have a seam along the edge either, which means you'll end up
with lots of frayed and loose threads. You'll want to keep
the handling down to a minimum, but I'm also good with that. This is
supposed to be a rag, a forgotten vestige of the warriors past life. As
such, it should be pretty badly beat, and the frayed edge adds to the
look. In fact, since it's going to wear and fray differently for
everyone, it gives it a bit of a unique look as well.
takes a pretty big hit from the method used to secure the ragged cape
around his neck. There are two small Velcro squares, held in place only
with a sticky fabric glue.
These don't stay on as tightly
like, and in fact my regular version came with the two little triangles
stuck to his jaw, and not the cape. They'd come loose in the box and
traveled where they pleased, and it was sheer luck that I found them.
came the problem of figuring out where best to put them. It was easy
for me, since I had the second exclusive version handy and I could use
that for a reference. If your's comes loose, you can refer to the photo
at the left where I've circled the location of the Velcro spots.
I put the Velcro back in place, it worked great for holding the cape in
place. However, the Velcro is tougher than the glue, so if you remove
the cape be sure to hold the Velcro in place whilst doing so.
understand the need to use the glue because the cape material is so
thin. Threads wouldn't hold, leaving other options like snaps out of
the question. Still, it is the one issue that holds the cape back from
a much higher score.
worth noting that the capes aren't from Jason and the Argonauts, and I
don't remember the single Skeleton Warrior from Sinbad having a cape
either, so I'm assuming these are from the comic books. In any event,
they add a cool look to the figures.
Fun Factor - ***
While these can be a little fragile (especially the hands), I can also
see kids with a penchant for evil skeletons having a great time with
them. The cape wouldn't last very long, and they'd need some help
swapping hands, but at $45 they aren't quite as far out of the realm of
the possible for the 10 year old crowd.
Value - Regular ***;
When was the last time you picked up a specialty market sixth scale
action figure for less than $50? I'm pretty sure there was a
in the White House, and it wasn't W.
not everything on the regular release is perfect, I have to say that
the price is right, especially since you can find the guy for around
$45 at many retailers.
The Zoloworld exclusive is more
although knowing how limited would go a long way to making the price
tag seem less painful. He also has the more expensive GITD paint
application, and I have to say they did a bang up job with it. Still,
at $30 more than a regular version, he's a much tougher sell.
Things to Watch Out For -
Be very careful when you pop any of the joints on or off, especially
the hands. The fit is pretty tight, so it takes a little pressure to
accomplish it, and it's easy to break that pointing finger in
Overall - ***
I like these quite a bit, and may have to pick up a couple more to
create an army, or at least a small mob. They'll fit in great with the
Ignite figures too, and
while I have only a passing interest in the humans announced so far
(Perseus and Sinbad), I'm very much interested in further Harryhausen
monsters, like Ymir and the Cyclops.
really wanted to give these guys another half star, especially at this
price point, but the articulation is a bit too restrictive for me to go
that far. It's really the only major issue in an otherwise great
looking pair of bone buddies.
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Regular ****; Exclusive ***1/2
Paint - Exclusive ****; Regular ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - ***
Outfit - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - Regular ***; Exclusive **
Overall - ***
Where to Buy -
You can buy the regular from Go
Hero direct for $50, or snag the GITD
Exclusive from Zoloworld for $75. Other options for the
regular version include:
Alter Ego Comics
has them for $45.
them at $45.
Earth has them at $50.
Big Bad Toy Store
has them at $60.
is also carrying it for $50.
- or you can search
ebay for a steal.
I've looked at two other Go Hero products so far - their very, very
cool Buck Rogers,
and the full scale Atomic
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